CS Lewis once said that "grief is like the sky, it covers everything." In recent weeks, our family has found that this is so very true. It seems that there is no right or wrong way to travel this path of grief. I have created this blog in hopes that some day we will be able to look back on our journey and see written proof that our great God never leaves us. God is good all the time.
I am a bit late in posting this as Jalayne's first scholarship was awarded a few weeks ago. Still, this is a good place to remember the recipients and why they were chosen.
Quite some time ago we decided to put together a memorial scholarship in Laynee's memory. We wanted this scholarship to be different than most of those awarded at our school. We did not want the recipient to be chosen because of their grade point average or athletic ability. We established a list of criteria for the applicants and asked that a group of teachers nominate students based on the criteria. The criteria was that they be students who were outstanding role models, have positive attitudes, have displayed an extraordianary sense of compassion and service to others. Six students were selected and then asked to write an essay on the "your attitude toward the word retard as used in name calling" The essays were submitted to us anonymously.
All of the essay were excellent but there was one that stood out among them. This student closed his essay with these very profound words: "it seems they (persons with cognitve impairments) are without sin and only want to please. Imagine how much better our world would be if everyone had a heart so great as theirs. Perhaps the next time someone calls you a "retard" you should take it as a compliment and say "thank you."
Our pupose behind this scholarship is, of course to keep Laynee's memory alive. But also, to raise awareness of the offensive nature of the misuse of the word, a subject our family is passionate about. On the evening of the award presentation, I explained that the word "retarded" in the medical world simply means to be delayed or slowed in cognitive development. Our society has corrupted this word and when used in a negative or deragatory manner it dehumanizes some of the most innocent people in the world. I explained that, to hear this word used in name calling, is extremely offensive and distasteful to our family.
I suspect that many who were present that evening had never really thought about how hurtful this word is. The word has been so misused that most use it out of ignorance. Since Jamee is a part of this graduating class, many of those present were her friends. I hope that when that word comes to mind, they will stop to remember, before it slips from their tongue, that it is a slam to Jamee's brother and sister. Will Laynee's scholarship make a difference to even one? I cannot say for sure. We are only one small community. However, I do know that if they weren't already, everyone present that night is now aware that this word is terribly misused. They cannot pretend that they do not know. Maybe.........just maybe.........a few of them, upon hearing the word come from another's tongue, will tell of a little girl named Jalayne and how that word is a criticism to her.
Laynee's first scholarship went to a young man who is planning to attend Eureka college. At this time he is unsure of his major. Congratulation Patrick Simms. Make us all proud and remember .....
As summer makes it's appearance in warm weather and sunshine, I've seen evidence of many people who are opening their pools for the season. When I see this I am reminded that it's almost inevitable, there are children who will drown in pools this summer. I see pools that are not fenced and ladders leaning up against above ground pools, and I know that somewhere, somehow a mother, a father, or other caregiver will, in their humanness, lose sight of their children for just a moment. I know also that for some that very human mistake will be fatal.
As Jim read this evenings news, he found that just a few miles from us, a family is living every parents nightmare. A three year old drowned in his family's backyard pool. My heart aches for the pain, the sorrow, the horror that this family will endure. I know that within the last few hours a mother or father has been thrust into a path that they did not choose. They will never be the same as they were when they woke this morning. Their world has crashed around them and there is vacancy in their hearts that can never be filled. They will weep, they will mourn, they will lament and I pray that they will cling to a God whose ways are higher than our own.
As I awoke this morning and the fuzziness of sleep cleared from my mind, I was greeted with the too familiar heaviness of knowing my baby is still gone. Lying there in the silence, I realized that it is Mother's Day. I am mother of 6 but only 5 are here with me on this earth. The sorrow that has been my constant companion for 20 months and one day, is there because I am mother to a child in heaven. It is a truth that still manages to snatch the air from my lungs.
I opened my eyes, staring up at the ceiling and feeling the sting of our reality, and my eyes caught sight of something new. Just yesterday, I had words painted above my bed to bring strength for each new day. Every morning since Laynee's accident has been much the same. Reality of her abscence slams into me like a crushing, mighty wave. The force is especially great on special days, like today. This morning, these words did not replace the hurt but they did remind me that there is a purpose far greater than what I can understand. I have a God who asks nothing more of me than that I trust him, with my heart.......with my life......with my precious child.
Although the emptiness of missing her is ever present, I have learned to go on, to enjoy life, to live and love in spite of the pain. Mother's Day was wonderful. It started out a bit rough with Moise having some issues that are very uniquely Moise. The girls went to the grocery store for groceries for the Mother's Day dinner they had planned. They also presented me with a Mocha Coconut Frappacino from Starbucks, which I enjoyed out on the deck. They (mainly Jade) fixed dinner and Jim grilled rib eyes. Grant gave me an assortment of delightful scents from Bath and Body. Brock gave me a sweet Mother's Day letter.
We spent the afternoon and evening outside, enjoying the fact that spring has actually arrived. The wild flowers were beatiful and my heart squeezed as I pictured a little four year old picking them and bringing them to me in her pudgy little fists. I was also quite enthralled by the masses of toads and frogs in our lake. Apparently it is mating season as there are hundreds of them and they are very loud. Jim and I enjoyed a long walk together as well.
At the close of this day, Mother's Day, another day without her I marvel at the fact that somehow we carry on. She was never out of my mind today. I miss her with every beat of my heart but I cling desperately to the knowledge that my God is God.
A few pictures of our day outdoors, right here at home. My favorite place in all the earth.